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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I recently put drywall in the basement. Had to put a new box in for the light switch. I thought I remembered how it was wired, but I must have done something wrong. I used to be able to turn the outside light on when the inside lights were off. As it is now the right switch controls the inside lights and the left switch controls the outside light. Now the outside light only comes on when I have the inside light switch turned on. Don't know if you can tell from my pictures, but the wires aren't very long and I can't pull the switches out very far. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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I can tell you what you did but I can't tell you which wires go where.
You put a hot wire where a switch leg should be or tied two wires together that should have been separated on a switch.
How many wires do you have?
Can you trace where they go?
Most likely the hot feeder was pigtailed so both switches had a hot to them
I'm guessing this is cable rather than in conduit....correct?
It gets tricky with cable as whites can be switch legs or neutral wires.
Impossible to tell from your pictures.
If you can figure out which goes where you can fix it pretty easily.
I'm guessing that's the problem......you can't.
 

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retired framer
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You have a black wire plugged into the back of the switch on the left, right behind the red wire. I think that should be on the other side, the black screw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes. There are two black wires on the right side (as you are looking straight on) the left switch. One of the black wires comes from the switch on the right and the other black wire goes up and out of the box. So you think that might be the problem?
 

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retired framer
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Yes. There are two black wires on the right side (as you are looking straight on) the left switch. One of the black wires comes from the switch on the right and the other black wire goes up and out of the box. So you think that might be the problem?

Some guessing on my part!
It looks like power is coming into the box and is going to the black screw.



You have the left switch wired as a switch loop so there is another cable taking power to the light. That wire would be black and if it was wired to a traveller the out side light would only work when the inside light is on.

And the red wire is a traveller. the black screw should be constant power.

So if everything else is right and you did label some of the wires, this would be an easy mistake to make.


It seems like a strange way to power the outside light but that cable may go other places before it gets to the light, you may have other lights or outlets that are effected too.
 

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Those switches look like they share a power source.
You have the carryover wire for the outdoor lights hooked to the load side of the indoor lights. It should be on the line side. This is why the indoor switch interrupts outdoor light power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe it would help if I clarify a few things. The switch shown turns on the basement lights and the outside light. There is another switch at the top of the stairs that also turns on the basement lights. The switch on the right has a black screw at the bottom and has a black wire going to it and a another wire coming off of it going to the switch on the left. I have taken a couple more pictures that might make it easier to see.

Thanks
 

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So, the switch shown turns on both the basement and outside light, but the switch at the top of the stairs only turn on the basement lights (presumably the same basement lights as the switch shown), and not the outside light?

Seems like some kind of weird half 3-way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, the right switch turns on the basement lights and the left turns on the outside light. The one at the top of the stairs only turns on the basement lights.
 

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You are apparently missing a jumper wire. You have one 3-wire cable and two 2-wire cables.


Connect the red and black wires in the 3-wire cable to the brass screws of the switch on the right. Connect the black wire in one of the 2-wire cables to the black screw of the switch on the right. (I can't tell which one). If the interior light work, you chose the correct black wire. If interior light do not work connect the black wire of the other 2-wire cable to the black screw of the switch on the right.
Connect the remaining black wire to the switch on the left. Connect a black jumper wire from the black screw of the switch on the right to the other screw of the switch on the left.
 

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You have one switch that turns on outside and basement lights but another that only turns on the basement lights? Hmm. Is that by design?
It would be easy to wire if you just had one of the switches just work the outside light. Then the other one, with the one at the top of the stairs could be for basement only.
Does the switch at the top ALWAYS turn on the outside light or does the other switch have to be in a certain position?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for your input. Actually that is the way it is currently wired. I haven't been here long and I am beginning to believe maybe the outside light didn't come on when the other switch was off. I was pretty sure I wired it the way it was.
 

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Yes, the right switch turns on the basement lights and the left turns on the outside light. The one at the top of the stairs only turns on the basement lights.
So you have TWO switches at the bottom. Sounds like you have a 3-way for the basement lights, and a single pole for the exterior.
 

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retired framer
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Thanks for your input. Actually that is the way it is currently wired. I haven't been here long and I am beginning to believe maybe the outside light didn't come on when the other switch was off. I was pretty sure I wired it the way it was.

Start over , you have the 3 way wrong.



You have not got cable jackets showing, do you know which wires go to each cable
You have a 3 wire
how many 2 wires do you have?
 

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retired framer
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This is what I think you have .

see the whit from the light goes to the other whites


see the black from the power goes to the black screw and the other switch.
 

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